In a surprise move, manager Luis Enrique left out both Sergio Ramos and Thiago Alcantara from Spain’s 26-man World Cup roster.
Ramos, a 36-year-old former Real Madrid defender who was a member of the Spain team that won the 2010 World Cup.
He was hoping to play in his fifth tournament and publicly pleaded with Enrique to include him but in vain.
Enrique rejected those pleas though, and has named a largely young group for the tournament.
Speaking after revealing his squad, Enrique said: “I’m not going to change to get to the World Cup. This is Luis Enrique’s team. We’re not going to die of fear. There’s no doubt about what you’re going to see in Spain.”
Bold words indeed.
Due to fitness issues this season, Liverpool star Thiago and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga are both ineligible.
Unai Simon of Athletic Bilbao will be the preferred goal keeper.
David de Gea, the goalkeeper for Manchester United, wasn’t even named to Spain’s preliminary squad.
However, Robert Sanchez of Brighton and David Raya of Brentford will travel to Qatar.
Aymeric Laporte and Rodri of Manchester City, Chelsea veteran Cesar Azpilicueta, and forwards Ferran Torres and Alvaro Morata, who were formerly of City and Chelsea, respectively, also find a place in the squad.
The forward line is talented but inexperienced.
Young Barcelona star Ansu Fati and 20-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao are part of the squad.
Fati has a record of frequent injuries but Enrique believes in him.
“Ansu’s level is unquestionable. He has gone through a difficult process. I had doubts until the last second. The illusion that I have has influenced in recovering the best Ansu.”
Final Spain Squad
GOALKEEPERS: Unai Simón, Robert Sánchez, David Raya
DEFENDERS: Dani Carvajal, César Azpilicueta, Eric García, Hugo Guillamón, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Jose Gayá
MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Gavi, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Koke
FORWARDS: Ferran Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Yeremy Pino, Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Nico Williams, Ansu Fati, Dani Olmo